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Updates from the Principal Advisory Council

From the Principal

Parent Partnership

Our relationship with parents is critically important and requires frequent and open communication.  The month of September provided key opportunities; Back to School Night, Freshman Parent Nights, Senior Parent Night as well as the recent adoption of the Bellarmine Parent Advisory Council (BPAC).  Each of these nights provided our parents access to important information.  Thank you all for supporting these events and for your continued efforts to cultivate relationships with parents.

The admissions team has also incorporated a new opportunity for prospective parents, coffee with the principal.  The partnership is developing even though most of the parents in the room do not, yet, have students enrolled at Bellarmine.  My recent experiences with parents; freshman parent nights, BPAC and coffee with principal have provided me with helpful information, this information has prompted the design of a parent education series.  The Physical Education/Health department is assisting me with content and potential speakers.  Please let me know if you are interested in working on the design and/or implementation of the parent education series.

The communication between Bellarmine employees and parents continues to be a topic of conversation.  The BPAC recently shared with me, they find the Bellarmine Enews to be very helpful.  Family Link and Moodle are also viewed as important ways for parents to stay informed. Please keep your Family Link and Moodle as current as possible. If you would like to deliver information regarding your program via Parent Enews or the website please coordinate with Craig Coovert. Thank you for your efforts to stay in touch and improve our communication with our parents.


Response to Recommendations – Schedule Review Committee

Last year a committee was formed to review our academic schedule.  The committee began the work in the fall of 2018 and concluded in May 2019.  The need to review of our schedule was determined, in part, during the curriculum review process that was completed in the previous year.  The Schedule Review Committee used the following guiding principles for the review process: 1) protect the academic program; 2) support college readiness; 3) anchor all programs to our mission and vision.  The committee examined educational research on the correlation between student learning and schedules.  The committee also surveyed faculty and students to better understand the needs of both the learner and the instructor.  Additionally, each discipline was asked to provide feedback on schedules presented.  The committee reviewed all information collected and presented a recommendation to the principal in May of 2019.  The recommendations are:

  • Start the Bellarmine school day at 8:45 a.m. including Wednesdays which will still be reserved for PLC/Department/Faculty/All employee meetings
  • Adjust each period to 75 minutes in a standard schedule day
  • Adjust each passing period to 7 minutes
  • Provide 42 minutes for lunch
  • Add 3 minutes to the final period of the day to accommodate the daily Examen
  • The school day would move to 2:45 p.m.

In addition to the recommendations listed above, the committee encouraged the administration to review the calendar and look for opportunities to implement an interim (January/June term).  The committee discovered through conversations and survey results a desire to provide additional time for student research, service, project-based learning etc. to the academic program.

The next 3 months will be used to assess and test the recommendation from the schedule review committee.  We will survey our parents and incorporate a “pilot schedule” in February 2020.  As we move forward, we will provide you with updates on our findings. 

The Schedule Review committee included: Bill Baerg, Mary Campbell, Jody DeGroot, Matt Ellis, Anita Emery, Kelly Goodsell, Rick Keller-Scholz, Megan Matthew, Lindley Schmitt, Jacob Singer, Ginny White and Casey Whitson.  I would like to publicly thank the schedule review committee for their time and professional approach to this important work.

Response to Recommendations – Bellarmine Equity Team

The Equity Team presented a proposal to the Bellarmine Board of Directors and Administration.  The committee referenced in the proposal Cura Personalis as well as the need to provide pastoral care for our students.  Research was sited in the proposal providing additional justification for the proposal.  The proposal included an official position in support of our LGBTQ+ students; a GSA or a similar club; and focused professional development and support regarding the needs of LGBTQIA+ students.

We are currently working on a procedure outlining the methods of support of our LGBTQIA+ students.  Our school attorney, the WIAA, Jesuit values and Catholic Social Teaching are all providing us with guidelines and direction.  We plan to have this document available by the middle of November.

The Equity Team includes Emily Andresen, Bill Baerg, Mary Campbell, Jody DeGroot, Barbara Henderson, Gary Mayne, Kevin Meines, Michael Peterson and Kim Schulz (former Director of Marketing and Recruitment).  Members of our Jesuit community also endorsed the proposal.  I would like to thank the committee for your commitment to Cura Personalis and for the research completed to assist us in the development of a support system for our LGBTQIA+ students.